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You’ve been buying bras every year since you were 12, so why, oh why, can’t you get the underwire to stop digging into your ribs? And it’s not just the girls who are suffering. You’ve never quite figured out how to shop for denim (damn you, pinching waist), blazers (gosh darn gaping) and the proverbial dreaded swimsuit (yeah, you know the deal). Here, a few pointers to keep in mind the next time you enter a fitting room—all in the hopes that you won’t run screaming.

RELATED: 17 of Your Most Common Bra Problems, Solved

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Remember, Stretch is Universally Flattering

If you have difficulty shopping for jeans—and let’s be real, who doesn’t?—try going for pairs made with stretch. Yes, we know stiff “mom jeans” are on trend this season, but a hint of spandex tends to have more give and, in turn, helps to camouflage misgivings. Large pockets also work to conceal your rear, and no one has ever complained about a high rise when it comes to smoothing over bellies.

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Don’t Underestimate Cup Size (or Overestimate Band Size)

The two biggest mistakes woman make when fitting themselves for a bra are underestimating the cup size and overestimating the band size. When it comes to the cup size, a little cleavage is fine, but when a bra fits properly, there should be no breast tissue peeking out of the sides of the cup. Put on a bra and check out the sides of your breasts, by your armpits—there should be no discernible bulges and everything should be scooped up and supported. In terms of band size, your bra should also fit horizontal across your back. If it rides up in the center, this indicates that the weight of the breasts are pulling the back of the band up and the band is too large (aka you may need to go down a size).

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Buy for Your Broadest Part

It’s an easy rule that changes everything: Buy an item to fit the widest part of your body and take the rest in. So, instead of sporting a blazer that gapes open at the chest, find one that fits through the shoulders and bust and take in the waist or sleeves to get that coveted hourglass shape.

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Use Color to Your Advantage

When searching for a swimsuit, you’re probably thinking about silhouette and design. But color is equally important, since it can help draw the eye to the most flattering parts of your figure. To highlight (say your cute derrière), use a bright color or pattern. To hide (say, your stomach) use a solid color. And don’t be afraid to buy separates. If you want to highlight your bust, but draw attention away from your hips, buy a bikini top in a bright solid or pattern, and a bottom that's a dark black or navy.

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Pay Attention to Proportion

Petites, opt for a standard trouser width or a narrow, tapered leg. Pear-shaped? Buy a jumpsuit that fits your bottom half and have the top taken in. Hourglass? Go for a high-waisted pant with a tie at the waist to define your mid-section. Catch our drift?

RELATED: 15 Jumpsuits That Are Totally Acceptable for Work

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